Texas women’s basketball comes away with tight 68-65 win over Kansas, remain first in Big 12 standings

Emma Hutchinson, Senior Sports Reporter

After taking care of West Virginia on Wednesday night, No. 24 Texas women’s basketball was on track to keep its first place Big 12 standings alive this weekend on the road against Kansas. 

Texas withstood its double road game journey, coming away with a 68-65 win over the Jayhawks. 

This is the second appearance that Texas and Kansas have made against each other, with the previous matchup ending in a 72-59 win for the Longhorns at home in the Moody Center.

In a prolonged first quarter, Texas was welcomed to Allen Fieldhouse by a feisty Kansas team as it held the initial lead. As Texas struggled to communicate across the court, the Jayhawks took advantage, moving light on their feet and consistently looking for opportunities to seize the ball. A three-point buzzer-beater from graduate guard Shaylee Gonzales brought the attention back to the Longhorns, leaving both teams with 15 points going into the second quarter.

Kansas center Taiyanna Jackson created a difficult environment for Texas, placing herself in crucial positions on the court and responding to every point and rebound that Texas gained. The 6-foot-6-inch tall senior went 9-11 in field goals and obtained 21 points, leading the Jayhawks in scoring. 

Texas began to crack under pressure during the second quarter, allowing Kansas to shoot from a 54% field goal percentage through the first half. The Longhorns left at halftime with a six-point deficit, as opposed to their double-digit lead at the half during their first game against the Jayhawks back in January. If Texas was going to come out on top, they were going to need a more demanding offense against a circling Kansas defense.                  

One thing the Longhorns have been demanding is turnovers. Texas has quickly become a dominant force inside the paint, providing an adamant defense in order to force turnovers. In the last 12 games, the Longhorns have held a 284-125 advantage over their opponents in terms of points and currently ranks No. 12 in the NCAA for turnovers. 

However, Texas met their match in terms of turnovers and success in the paint for the evening. Kansas accumulated 12 points off of 21 turnovers and nearly doubled Texas’ amount of points in the paint with 44 points against Texas’ 26. 

Junior forwards Khadija Faye and DeYona Gaston assisted in giving the Longhorns the upper hand in the offensive scene. Faye secured 10 rebounds and one assist while trying to dodge foul trouble and Gaston with seven rebounds and four steals.    

With five minutes left in the final quarter, each team stood with 59 points, with nine ties and seven lead changes since the start. It was anyone’s game.

Texas pushed back into the lead once again with a minute to go, getting ahead of Kansas by a mere five points. As the clock ran down, both teams gave everything they had, with Kansas inching closer by the second until Texas claimed their three-point victory.     

Texas will be back at home in the Moody Center on Wednesday to take on Texas Tech for the second time in Big 12 conference play.